Turn Off the Snooze Button

In a heartfelt message to his community, Rabbi Michoel Gourarie of Sydney, Australia says to wake up and utilize the days ahead.

As I write, behashgacha protis I am in Texas on a plane headed for Sydney – and it’s Yud Daled Kislev.

I can’t find a farbrengen partner – but it’s the day that ‘connected us with the Rebbe and him with us’ (the Rebbe’s own words). So I asked for a little mashke to say a virtual Lechaim with my fellow chassidim in Sydney.

We are indeed in a very special time. Rosh Chodesh Kislev sets the scene for this chassidisher month. Tes, Yud and Yud Tes Kislev are the very foundation of what it means to be a chossid. Then, of course, today, the Rebbe’s wedding anniversary, the gift of our connection with our Rebbe.

But perhaps this year in particular, the Kislev energy should propel and shift us into a whole different mood, mindset and reality. We are soon approaching YUD SHVAT SHIVIM SHONO, seventy years since the Nesi’us of the Rebbe, OUR Rebbe began!

Those who experienced these things, or are aware of the history, would know that on the Yud Shvat of ten years, twenty, thirty and forty years, the Rebbe made an incredible shturem, each time in a different way. Chasidim prepared for these events for months, anticipating the inevitable giluyim. Could we ever imagine what the Rebbe would do and what he certainly wants us to do with seventy years?!

So, logically, we should already be in a frenzy (a good one). We should be turning ourselves, our families, our community upside down creating the greatest shturem! There is only one thing perhaps that is holding us back. It’s the question we all have to answer each day. Am I awake or asleep? Do I just exist or I am really alive? And if I do become inspired once in a while, do I get up or press the snooze button? We all know that one of the foundations of being a chossid is chayus!

I remember one Motzei Yom Kippur a few years ago after an inspirational intense 26 hours I came home and turned on my phone to find a message from my cleaners. It was from earlier in the day and it read: “Your dry cleaning is ready.”

I thought, “Wow! We have the Zechus to know that the last 26 hours the world was completely different, in a whole different space. Sadly for some, it was just another day with the regular errands and business-like dry cleaning.”

So, coming from Yud Daled Kislev, let’s say Lechaim! Lechaim Velivrocho!

Let us resolve that from now until Yud Shvat we will wake up a little, each in our way. Let us try to do what the Rebbe taught us on Yud Shvat – to move away from the Shtusim of the Nefesh Habamis and to go a little ‘good crazy’ with the Shtus Dikdusha. Each one can do this a little differently with one goal – not to go back to sleep and not to spend this period like they are just regular days.

The next few weeks contain tremendous opportunity (especially since many will have a little extra vacation time to implement a little more). Let’s use out and reveal the inner Hiskahrus that we all have! Lechaim!

These are some suggestions to work on. Take on one, a few or something else completely.

  1. A couple of weeks ago some of us took a hachlata to learn 70 hours of chassidus – the Rebbe’s Torah or something else- between now and Yud Shvat. It can be a shiur, chavrusa or an audio we listen to when we walk or drive.
  2. Chizuk in learning Rambam and Chitas.
  3. Trying to do more mivtzoim.
  4. Being more careful in avodas hatefillah, especially not talking in the middle of davening.
  5. Extra Torah bichlal – nigleh or chassidus.
  6. Writing to the Rebbe more often, not only when we need something.
  7. Being mechazek an area of halacha where we need more yiras Shamayim.
  8. Dedicating more time to the chinuch of our children
  9. Learning inyonei geula umoshiach.

These are just examples. Whatever it is, it needs to be manageable but with a push out of our comfort zone. Let’s hope that we will mark this Yud Shvat with the geula hashleima – and be zoche to see Melech Beyofyoi.

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